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Pruitt to EPA Gets Mixed Review for Agriculture

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EPA logo-2This week President-elect Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The announcement has sparked a lot of comment, and will continue to right on through the Senate confirmation process. Indianapolis lobbyist Patrick Pfingsten says Pruitt’s position on the Renewable Fuel Standard is a cause for concern. But his resume signals change ahead at EPA that many farmers will like.

“As a farm state elected official, Attorney General of Oklahoma, he’s obviously more familiar with agricultural issues than Gina McCarthy and her thick Boston accent ever would be,” he told HAT. “He has shown at times that he wants to stand up against overregulation, for farmers’ rights, and to be a leader in making sure that government and EPA isn’t overreaching. He’s actually one of the first attorneys general in the United States to file suit over the EPA’s Waters of the US rule.”

Patrick Pfingsten and Sen Joe Donnelly
Patrick Pfingsten and Sen Joe Donnelly

Pfingsten says Pruitt’s ties to the oil and gas industry and frequent criticism of the RFS are something corn growers will be watching closely as the transition is made.

“Those of us who see all the corn produced in the state without enough places for it to go, if the RFS and the ethanol markets didn’t exist, it would be really, really tough on Indiana farmers. So it’s going to be interesting to see how Mr. Pruitt is allowed to do his own thing at the EPA, or how much of the day to day policy direction the White House gets involved in.”

Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruitt

Could this be a hotly debated confirmation process for Pruitt and the Trump administration? Pfingsten says “stay tuned.”

Hear more from Pfingsten:patrick-pfingsten-on-epa-pick

The Wednesday announcement on Pruitt’s selection:

(New York, NY) – President-elect Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a cabinet-level position. An expert in Constitutional law and one of the country’s top attorneys general, Pruitt brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy making him an excellent choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn. As my EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, the highly respected Attorney General from the state of Oklahoma, will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe,” said President-elect Donald Trump. “My administration strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity.”

“I am deeply grateful and honored to serve as President-elect Trump’s EPA Administrator,” said Mr. Pruitt. “The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

Mr. Pruitt will be deeply involved in the implementation of President-elect Trump’s energy plan, which will move America toward energy independence, create millions of new jobs and protect clean air and water.

Mr. Pruitt will ensure that we conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources, while unleashing an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country. Mr. Pruitt agrees with President-elect Trump that we must rescind all job-destroying executive actions and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production. This will create at least a half million jobs each year and produce $30 billion in higher wages.

Mr. Pruitt has been a national leader against the EPA’s job-killing war on coal. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Pruitt established the state’s first “federalism unit” to combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government. Pruitt agrees with President-elect Trump that states should have the sovereignty to make many regulatory decisions for their own markets.